Lovin' time at Coon Hollow Farm

Lovin' time at Coon Hollow Farm
Our Olde English "Babydoll" Sheep and their lambs

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A new hive, a new beginning...

What to do when the Observation Hive at work is over run with bees...hmmmm start a new hive! The Queen had wall to wall brood in there, lots of eggs, larvae, and capped brood.

So with two frames of packed bees and brood, I took them up to one of my empty hives...

with some left over frames filled with honey...

I added the frames into a hive body. A little unconventional I know, but it is May, there will be hundreds more bees in just a few days.

Added some sugar water into a feeder with Honey B Healthy...

also blocked the entrance and placed the cover down so they can't get out until they are adjusted to their surroundings and hope for the best!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Wild edibles time of year is here!

This time of year you can really save on that grocery shopping with wild edibles that are everywhere! My favorite is Garlic Mustard. I make a mean pesto out of it by using the following: 2 cups of garlic mustard leaves, washed and dried, about a cup of olive oil, about 3/4 cups of walnuts or pine nuts, chopped, 3/4 cups of Romano and Parmesan cheese (I just use the grated, a couple of cloves of garlic, minced and salt and pepper to taste. I place the leaves first in a food processor and then slowly add the olive oil, then the rest of the ingredients, adjust as needed...

and there you have it, Garlic Mustard Pesto over pasta! In my humble opinion I think it is even better than basil!

I picked these dandelions for my rabbits, but the whole time I was thinking wine!!! Wild edibles are free and delicious too! I have also added a great blog called "3 foragers" onto my side bar, check out their blog, it is great! Message me for some reference material or sites to learn more!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Shearing Day has come and gone!

Today we started off the day getting ready for shearing when our shearers showed up early! They started right away on the sheep...

and then moved onto the goats...

some dental work was in deep need...

and then the drama began! Nothing like a screaming, spoiled brat alpaca to make you want to plug your ears. It's not like it's his first time around.

So the day netted, a herd of naked sheep and lambs screaming because they didn't recognize their moms...

some naked and cool looking alpacas...

and some naked angora goats!

Their locks came off so perfect and I can't wait to begin to work with it!

All is well again with some wool...

and some bonding time!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Leave the leaves!!!

Do you ever look at leaves as a burden, messy looking and have the urge to rake them up, get them out of the garden as soon as you can? Well don't!!! Did you know that worms are drawn to the damp, warm decomposing space that they give them?

and with that you get beautiful black, rich, healthy soil! All brought to you for free by the worms!

So I planted my tomatoes and used the leaves as my natural compost, a gift from nature!!!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The chicks first outing!

It's hard to believe that over a month has gone by since theses little fluff balls came to us! Today we opened the door and half of the 26 chicks came out to explore while the others huddled in the coop. They took dust baths, stretched out in the sun and checked out the older chickens who were also very curious of them. It's hard to believe in just 3 months these girls will be laying eggs!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Inspired by Nature and Springs Colorway

Using some mohair that I had...

some hot water...

and a box of old Rit dye I had, started out as a disaster in dyeing. First using the wrong mordant. I went with my regular vinegar but it should have been salt. I got the strangest steel color, so I decided to re-dye it and got a beautiful blue!

The disaster dyeing is on the right. Not too bad and such a lovely color. The other two piles are inspiration of Springs beautiful colors...

but my favorite dye attempt was this one! I was looking out the back door at all the beautiful colors Spring has to offer so I put it in a dye batch and call it a win!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Making Sassafras Tea

I love this time of year! Wild edibles are everywhere. Yesterday I picked some sassafras sapling roots. When you harvest them you need to get the whole root. Cut the stalk off and wash the dirt off well.

After your roots have dried somewhat, I put them in water and strain the water for anymore dirt. Once I have got a nice clean water I place the roots into a pot with that water and bring to a boil.

And there you have it, Sassafras Tea, no sugar needed! Nature takes care of the sweetness!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Moving day for the chicks!

Today our chicks moved into the small coop that doubles for a chick brooder. With a closed in area, lots of straw and a heat lamp they have lots of room to move. They have grown so fast, have feathers, all 26 of them!

They were fearful at first, but all it takes is food to get their attention. So now it is time to wipe the dust off of everything in the house. My favorite part of chicks is when they go outside!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

A Chicken Funeral

Sadly, one of our Barred Rock chickens passed away. We are not sure why, she was fine and then Tim found her in the coop dead. I went to bury her, and the next thing I knew there were chickens all around her. Some touched her softly with their beaks, some cocked their heads and looked at her and some kicked dirt into the hole. The picture I snapped after I covered her, they continued to stand over her. Chickens are so sweet and sensitive.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

CT Sheep and Wool Festival

What a great day! Sharing my booth with my friends Rose and Jody...

Jody's amazing hand crafted hats and pins found people in awe!

A peek of the room...

AJ was all smiles, every time I looked over she was chatting with someone new...

I only had a small amount of time to walk around, but I found this guy just stunning! And so, the festival is behind us now, but a fun time was had and some new things came home with me too! We all did so well, that I need to get onto spinning, knitting and getting more stock for upcoming events!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Chicken Math!!!

It's called Chicken Math! What it means is there are never enough chickens when you have a chicken obsession!!! Today 10 more came to live with us!

The 10 new Rhode Island Red pullets, already a week old, are fed, had water and are warm. They are resting after their long journey. So our numbers are now, 16 hens, 4 roosters, 16 three week olders and 10 1 week old...hmmmm it all adds up!!! More chickens!!!

We're going to the fair!!!

Or should we say "the festival"! This January we applied to the CT Sheep and Wool Festival and we got in!!! The fair organizer had one spot open and asked me what I could bring to the festival that would be different, my response, "quilters beeswax"! So I am packed up...

final skein of yarn is off the bobbin setting...

props are ready to go. The truck is packed, but the best part is sharing this with my friends, Jody and Rose. They will be sharing my booth with me and just around the corner is a few other friends sharing a booth. This should be fun!!!

Friday, April 17, 2015

The chicks they are a growin'

The chicks are just over two weeks old now. They are getting feathers and the combs are starting to come in!

This is just after they were cleaned which usually last about 5 minutes! They are eating and pooping machines. They are out growing their cage so we will have to come up with something bigger soon!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The release of the Queens!

After the threat of rain this morning I fired up the smoker and headed up to the hives to see if the queens had been released. All 3 queens were still in their queen cages.

I am also absolutely amazed at the quality and size of the drones! They are the size of miniature chihuahuas for gosh sakes! The big eyed honeybees in the picture are drones.

Here is a queen after being marked. This year we will mark all the queens blue as per the international code. It makes it easier to find her amongst thousands of bees and tells us she is a 2015 queen. We will revisit in a few days to make sure all is well with the queens and hives.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The bees are here!

We got the call! The girls were here, so off Tim went to pick them up, 2 packages for us and 1 for Kisha!

3 pounds of bees per package, that's a lot of bees!!!

Getting them ready to go in. We are starting our hives off this year with lots of drawn out comb filled with honey. All was not loss losing our bees over the winter, this will give these girls a great start.

The queen cage and her majesty. One of our queens was dead in the cage but we quickly went back and they replaced her. We get our bees from Roland's Bees in Southbury, great service and quality!

In they go! The feeder was filled with sugar water and Honey B Healthy. So lots for them to eat...

and bee season is under way!